The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt

by MacLachlan, Patricia. (HarperCollins, 1988 ISBN 0060241144. Library Bindng, Paperback.) Novel. Grades 5+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.


cover art

This touching novel concerns commitment to excellence, ambition and love. Minna's search is for the perfect vibrato on her violin. In the process of that search we meet Mr. Porch, Minna's music teacher, Minna's mother (who keeps house the way I do -- moving the debris about occasionally), Minna's musical friend Lucas, her brother McGrew and several other memorable characters. The contrast between Minna's offbeat mother and Lucas's mother who spends considerable time thinking up suitable topics for dinner table conversation is wonderful. Minna's brother McGrew likes to sing the headlines from the newspaper and then there's Imelda, a violinist who suddenly announces obscure and disconnected facts during rehearsals.

The book gives us much to think and talk about. The title comes from one of the many enigmatic statements that Mrs. Pratt is fond of, "Fact and fiction are different truths". That statement may be a good starting place for one type of discussion and research of statement made by writers, particularly those who choose to write fantasies. Like Brooks' Midnight Hour Encores, this book's strong musical content leads the reader into new insights about music and, maybe, a seeking out of his or her own musical strengths and tastes. The vibrato that Minna seeks is a symbol used throughout the book and has strong parallels to the characters and fullness of life around her.


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